It was love at first sight. This modern family villa was an evidence for Asna and Ruggero, a couple of enthusiastic travellers, with a little boy running behind them. Set amongst a heavenly luscious garden and still close to the city’s vibrant heart, they have found a place that reflects their souls and springs their free spirit. Big windows release loads of light and open the view of the magnificent greenery outside, the modern concrete floor determines a minimalist and clean style: a real blend of colors with tribal artworks and sculptures completes the picture. All their finds are there, the aboriginal wooden masks brought from a trip to Africa, the three monkeys as little gems from Indonesia, the gorgeous bathroom tiles from Morocco, the gorilla’s drawing caught in Bali and many more. Nurturing their wonder, reinforcing their curiosity and promoting their openness to the world around them, the couple has set their life here, where they invite friends and continue to decorate their walls with various coups de coeur.
Who is inviting The Sandy Side at home today?
Une amoreuse de la vie. A life lover, a curious traveller and an art enthusiast. I have moroccan roots but I was raised in Paris, where I met my italian husband, that was living there after having grown in Beirut. Our meeting was an evidence, like “this is it”, you know when you have no doubt. We are citizens of the world, we have different personalities but we love the same things. I enjoy listening to other people’s stories, i find it inspiring, and I adore art galleries, museums and I am fascinated by art in general. “L’art est l’expression de l’ame” (art is the expression of soul), and every piece we have at home has a real meaning for us, it represents a story or it reminds us of a travel.
How do you define the style of your home?
Modern, minimalist, clean with a tribal touch. And filled by nature.
How do you manage a nice decor with family life?
Our home is not very full of furniture. So that’s practical. When my my son and his friends come over to play I actually cover the sofas, but for the rest I think they learn, They learn to live in a nice environment where there are some fragile objects, and I love the idea of raising a kid in a space full of art and meaningful pieces.
Tell us the story of this home.
I wanted an unconventional home, that looked as it was in the countryside but not far from the city center. When we saw it we knew this was for us. The garden was a jungle, it had many more palm trees and plants, we saw the high potential and we thought what we could make out of it. We called an architect that is also a friend, Anna Castro, and worked intensively with her; we have travelled a lot, always being in many beautiful places that have been great sources of inspiration for me and we knew exactly what we desired. The idea of the concrete floor was essential (and it was a nightmare, they had to do it four times to get it right), mixed with my obsession with tribal art, monkeys and gorillas, and the need of light and nature together with a contemporary decoration. We chose a swedish timber flooring for upstairs, moroccan tiles for the bathrooms and many artworks from different artists that we admire. When I chose the bubbly sofas my husband thought I was crazy, but they ended up being the iconic pieces of the house.
What is your dream object that is missing in your home?
I dream of a series of Hokusai wave prints, to hang them in the corridor. But I would like to go to Japan first and choose them there, as we always do with all the objects that we collect. We fall in love with different pieces during all our travels, and we bring them home.
And the cheap piece of furniture you are the most proud of ?
The lamp in the dining room with the rope base, it’s from Home Center.
Which is your favourite room in the house?
The dining room. I love to spend time there, it exudes a special atmosphere that allows us to have large dinners, en plus our kitchen is open on the dining and I love to cook and have friends over.
When looking for a piece of furniture, where do you go?
I don’t buy that much here in Dubai. I always buy during my travels. Here I like to go to see various art galleries, such as La Galerie Nationale in Alserkal Avenue and Quadro in DIFC. If I am looking for something in particular there is one place where you can find all different artcrafts, even though at ridiculous high prices compare to what you would pay in the country of origin, and it’s the Global Village.
What is your favourite place in Dubai?
The Yacht club at the Bulgari Hotel. I love the ambience, the marina, the vintage decor like it has always been there. When you call to book there is a music like Dolce Vita style, and I just love it!
Any decoration tip?
Try to do what you like and what makes you feel good in your home, something that relate to your personality and your soul, do not follow the trends.
DECO NOTES from Asna’s addresses in Dubai
The Lighthouse: http://www.thelighthouse.ae/
Beautiful concept store and restaurant at the Design District
Global Village: https://www.globalvillage.ae/en/
You can find everything, from moroccan carpets to african art, much more expensive than what it would be in the native country, but if you are looking for something specific there you”ll find it.
Home and Soul: http://homeandsouldubai.com/
They have many ethnic objects which I really like
Roche Bobois: https://www.roche-bobois.com/en-AE
That’s where my sofas come from